A somewhat bizarre press release was issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is sometimes known as food stamps. In that press release, the department said it would be focusing on “increased cooperation with states” to “promote self-sufficiency, integrity in the program, and better customer service.” One word, in particular, was repeatedly used in the statement: “flexibilities.”
While few details were offered, there were plenty of familiar right-wing buzzwords such as “self-sufficiency” which is just a kind way of the Trump administration telling people on SNAP to get a job and not expect any help in the future.
Of course, this administration has already made their plans for food stamps painfully clear with their budget proposal for 2018: They want to cut the program by at least 25 percent, even though to do so will leave millions of Americans — especially children — severely underfed and unprepared for a day of school.
The press release goes on to assert:
“The American dream has never been to live on government benefits. People who can work, should work. We must facilitate the transition for individuals and families to become independent, specifically by partnering with key stakeholders in the workforce.”
What that fails to recognize is that the majority of those on food stamps already have at least one job, or are looking for a job. As Mother Jones reports:
“Rather than serving as a substitute for work, the food stamps program ‘increasingly serves the working poor,’ as the USDA itself noted in a March release. More than half of SNAP families with children include an adult who works, the report states. A 2015 study by the White House Council of Economic Advisers found that among working-age adults receiving SNAP benefits, 57 percent are “either working or are unemployed and looking for work,” and 22 percent are “exempt from work due to disability.”
Just last week, with the passage of their massive tax cuts for the wealthiest in this country, Republicans made clear that their priority is to benefit corporations and billionaires over the needs of the poor and middle class. They long to slash social safety net programs such as Social Security, disability benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP. It’s been House Speaker Paul Ryan’s dream since his college days.
Each day with this GOP-controlled Congress and their allies in the White House, we can clearly see that the vast majority of us are considered expendable in the Ayn Rand-inspired oligarchy Republicans envision as their permanent legacy for a country they are fast destroying.